Mangaung faces water shortage

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Bloemfontein - Some households in the Mangaung metro could run out of water in the next four months if restrictions were ignored, lobby group AfriForum said on Friday.

“Bloemfontein would be without water by September. Botshabelo can run dry by August,” said CW Els of the Free State AfriForum.

The Mangaung metro municipality has not reacted to the claims.

Els said AfriForum had been trying to meet the municipality to compare information and discuss solutions, but the municipality could only meet the group in two weeks' time.

“Residents have a right to know of the possible problem they would face in the future,” said Els.

Afriforum's report on the matter contains a Government Gazette notice by the water affairs department of March 14, announcing water restrictions that seemed to have been ignored by the metro.

The departmental notice installs a 15 percent restriction on residential and industrial water use in Mangaung, including Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu.

It restricts the use of water for irrigation purposes in the Modder River sub-catchment areas upstream from the Maselspoort Dam by 50 percent.

Regional water affairs head Nteliso Ntidi told local radio station OFM the March 14 notice was put on ice because the drought in the area had been broken.

Ntidi told the radio station that water affairs was now again investigating the water situation in the Caledon- and Modder rivers to decide whether water restrictions were necessary.

Els said questions should be asked why the unpopular decision of water restrictions for Mangaung had not been taken yet.

He said the situation was worrying because the main water source for Bloemfontein, the Rustfontein Dam, only had water, at the current usage rate, for 235 days.

“The Groothoek dam has only for 180 days from March 26.”

Els said the Mangaung metro municipality had the lowest rainfall and the highest recorded water loss of all the eight metropolitan municipalities.

All Mangaung's primary water resources were rainfall dependent.

Els said with the 2014 rainy season almost over for the area the issue needed urgent attention.

“The water levels in dams are quite low, and at the current usage rate water delivery is not sustainable until the next rainy season,” he said.

AfriForum indicated residents in the Estoire area, in Bloemfontein, had already been without water for five days on Friday.

Sapa


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